GAME TIME: 10p EST
Trailblazers: 20-14 (12-4 home)
Margin: +2.8 ppg (+ 5.8 home)
Last 10: 5-5 (margin +1.1)
Pistons: 21-11 (9-6 road)
Margin: +1.0 ppg (-0.9 road)
Last 10: 8-2 (margin +4.1)
The Pistons seven game win streak hits bumpy terrain tonight against a tough home team in the Blazers. That said, this team is as beatable as it has been all season. Before the last meeting between the two teams, I suggested a regression to the mean might be in order for a team that had relied upon red hot shooting through the first 17 games.
That is exactly what happened, as Portland’s three point shooting has cooled to a more reasonable 38%. The trio of Rudy Fernandez, Greg Oden and Nicola Batum have been utterly mediocre of late, after sensational starts. Worse, the team will be short their star player. Brandon Roy will not rejoin the lineup until some time next week.
Portland has still managed to string together victories thanks to their absurd rate of offensive rebounds. The Blazers bring down nearly a third of their misses, which have been plentiful over the last couple of weeks.
Keys for Detroit:
Rebound: With Rasheed likely back in the lineup, (edit: nevermind, he's out for tonight) and Michael Curry finally coming to his senses with Amir and Maxiell, the Pistons are finally in a position to compete on the boards. Make no mistake, they will need to compete on the boards.
Stop the three: Without Roy to break down perimeter defenses, the Pistons have NO excuse for allowing uncontested three pointers as they did in November
Find the open man: Portland’s perimeter defense is sloppy. The Pistons have been better of late at moving the ball around the outside. Further, I would expect a fair amount of zone defense from the Blazers, especially after Sunday’s debacle.
Question of the game:
Whose going to suit up? Wallace is likely OUT. Rip is unlikely OUT. Both are possible OUT. That answers that.